September 13, 2007

by Mitch Gobetz – MMAWeekly.com
In front of the rabid mixed martial arts fans in Hawaii on Saturday night, Joey Villasenor will look to bounce back from his knockout loss to Murilo “Ninja” Rua. Villasenor has had some ups and downs his last few fights, and is looking for an impressive performance in his fight against Japanese fighter Riki Fukuda.

“The Dream Smasher” has won three out of his last six and is looking to get back on the consistent trail. MMAWeekly caught up with Joey and asked him what he thought of his last fight.

“As any athlete would tell you, you’re only as good as your last performance. No matter how great of a fight between me and Ninja, I still lost it. And I never want to get comfortable losing. Ricky is gonna be a formidable opponent and I look forward to competing against him, but I got to prove to myself.”

EliteXC has begun to build their stable of middleweight fighters. Those fighters include: David Loiseau, Murilo Ninja Rua, Frank Shamrock, Phil Baroni, Cung Le, Robbie Lawler and Joey Villasenor. In fact, EliteXC’s middleweight class can be compared to any of the big shows including the UFC.

“I think that it is the most stacked weight class at Elite right now,” said Villasenor. “I think it’s a great thing that Elite is establishing itself as one of those top contenders, one of those top athlete holders. I’m very pleased to be a part of it.”

In front of Villasenor is Riki Fukuda, who comes into this fight with an 8-2 record. He’s a strong wrestler with unorthodox striking, but Joey is ready for him.

“I look forward to a very tough battle with him. I think I’m more polished in more areas. I’m just looking forward to trying to pick him apart.”

Villasenor comes out of the highly touted Greg Jackson camp. While Jackson’s camp has had its ups and downs the last couple months, Villasenor wants to represent his team well with a big victory this weekend.

“I go out there and I represent my brothers, my coaches and all of my teammates. Whether it’s just me and Greg Jackson out there, I know I got a stable of fighters watching the fight and cheering me on.

“We’ve gone under some fire here lately, because we had a tough streak, and [Rashad] Evans getting a tie basically, a draw with Tito [Ortiz], but I think that’s just where we’re at now. We’re fighting the best and we’re a young team. We’re thrown under the limelight. We’re learning as we’re going,” explained Villasenor.

This fight will be Joey’s first fight in Hawaii, but he’s been there before cornering a fighter in the X-1 promotion. “It’s an MMA community. The fans are great. They remind me of Albuquerque a
little bit. They are knowledgeable fans.”

While many fighters who lose a shot at the title look to get another chance, Villasenor doesn’t concern himself with that. He has other things on his mind.

“My ultimate goal is to get Ninja and Robbie [Lawler]. My heart is showing them what I’m really made of. Ninja knows what I got. Ninja knows that I hurt him. Ninja knows that he caught me. It was a great brawl. It was a great fight. I just want to get back with them two guys, regardless if there is a belt there or not. I can’t wait to get a rematch with either one of them.”

Those are the words of a very focused fighter.